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When the democrats regained control of the legislature, several of Johan's staff accepted positions in the new Legislature. Because Johan knew me from my earlier assignment in helping him set up his first field office, I was asked to help out until replacement staff were found. I ended up spending 2 years working in his Sacramento office.

That time in Johan's office was very important as Johan was a very strong labor supporter. It was there that I first understood the connection between politics, labor and state service; where I first understood the power of labor or at least how it is perceived. It was also when I first heard Bill Camp's (executive secretary of the Sacramento Central Labor Council) name mentioned.

I was already a steward, had attended one of the weekend steward academies. Though the instructors were very knowledgeable, the problem was it didn't put the fire under my feet. Steward training should get people motivated and fired up.

So I was a certified steward but not excited, and I worked in offices with good management so I didn't encounter the issues that usually get people motivated.

DW: So when did you become more involved with the union? When did you first learn about CDU?

EP: After my stint at Johan's office, I returned to my former position at the BOE's call center. At that time, CSEA elections were coming up.

About then, Romer Cristobal, another CSEA member started getting involved with the union and attended his first DLC (788) meeting. After attending the meeting, he became interested in the DLC and at some point was appointed its DBUR. After being appointed elections came up and he had to run for office.

Here is an example of the importance of "just asking", because Jim (Hard) called Romer and asked if he was interested in joining CDU.

Romer didn't know what CDU was, and later when we were talking he said he had received a call from someone named Jim Hard who had asked him to join CDU. This was when I remembered- oh yeah, CDU is a group within CSEA.

I had attended a DLC meeting back in 1993 or 1994 when I was in DLC 743 or maybe 744, in San Francisco on Turk St. Celeste Purcell (a CDU member) was the president. There was also one guy there named Cory Shipley. He stood out right away because he had punk hair, and he was really animated. He was passing out stuff, and back then I didn't pay much attention to it but it was The Union Spark. That was the first time I saw The Spark, I kinda browsed through it and it didn't make any sense to me, I wondered what was going on. I didn't even take it home.

But back to Romer, he did join CDU.

I also became interested in the union, and joined CDU. Romer had been talking to me about the SBAC meetings and I attended one of them held in Sacramento and that really piqued my interest.
I learned who the contact person was for my DLC and called Derrick (Sanders) but we didn't connect so I wrote him a letter letting him know that I was a steward and I wanted to get more involved and wanted to attend the SBAC meeting that was going to be held in Monterey.

Derrick and I got together in Monterey and he mentioned that the chief steward position in my DLC was vacant and wondered if I was interested in filling it. I said, 'sure'.

That happened a little over a year and a half ago. I just dove right in.

During the Unit 1 fair share fee recission campaign, I worked down at CSEA everyday. This is when I experienced first-hand the interference from Perry Kenny and his gang. I finally understood what Jim and Cathy were referring to when they talked about how the CSD's affairs were hard to administer because of lack of staff support, censoring of communication by Perry Kenny and even simple things such as paying certain bills that the CSEA Controller (under directions from Perry Kenny) would simple refuse to do just because they felt it was "improper". It was a real education in what is going on within CSEA.

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